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'Jacare' Souza explains why he’s picking Yoel Romero to beat Robert Whittaker at UFC 213

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero will collide for the UFC interim middleweight championship on July 8 in Las Vegas, and one man knows a lot about the UFC 213 co-headliners.

Ronaldo Souza shared the Octagon with Whittaker and Romero. “Jacare” lost a controversial decision to Romero in 2015, and was finished by Whittaker last April, and sees Romero becoming the first Cuban product to win a UFC belt.

"I think Romero wins this fight,” Souza told MMA Fighting. "He’s stronger, keeps the distance well and is really calm. Robert Whittaker can surprise him and win because he’s really fast for the middleweight division, but I bet on Romero.”

Souza has only lost twice in nine UFC bouts, and campaigned for an interim belt for months while current UFC titleholder Michael Bisping was facing Dan Henderson and then going for a fight with Georges St-Pierre.

With the UFC finally creating an interim belt five weeks after he lost, “Jacare” looks on the bright side.

"Better late than never,” he said. "Robert Whittaker is a great champion and earned this chance. I’m happy for him. And Romero also proved he deserved it by knocking out (Chris) Weidman. They deserve to fight for the interim belt and then fight Bisping.

"The division is finally moving now. I’m coming back and will earn my title shot."

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